During the 40 days of Lent, it’s popular among Christians to give something up. This can remind us of Jesus fasting in the desert and of His ultimate sacrifice for us, and it can be a form of self-discipline as we turn away from things that may normally distract us from our focus on God. Depending on the person and/or their particular denomination, it’s common to give up things like consuming certain foods (e.g. meat, fish, sweets, alcohol) or limiting our interaction with technology (e.g. no TV or social media). This is all well and good, but this year, I had a “radical” thought…

Rather than giving something up, why not take on something new?

Think about it. While giving something up is perfectly kosher (pun fully intended), we can also use these 40 days of Lent to focus on something new, potentially outside of our normal comfort zone. Yes, Jesus did sacrifice EVERYTHING for us, so giving something up is right in line with that mindset. But he also TOOK ON an enormous “something new.” He took on our sin. All of it. Every single sin of every person who ever has and ever will live on this earth.

With that in mind, I invite and encourage you to consider taking on something new this Lent. If it helps, perhaps you can even think of it as a mini “New Year’s resolution” (if you’re into that sort of thing). 40 days is not a terribly long amount of time. In fact, depending on the source, it’s right in the ballpark of the amount of time it takes to develop a new habit. And who knows, you may just keep up with it after Lent is done.

What’s that? You want ideas? Of course you do. I figured as much. Here’s a few you can try on for size:

  • Commit to a daily workout (big or small, it doesn’t matter)
  • Volunteer your time/talents (at your church, a charity, etc.)
  • Read a new book (perhaps your Bible…I know, it’s a terribly stereotypical “Christian” thing to recommend)
  • Take on a household chore normally done by your spouse (cooking, cleaning, laundry)
  • Learn a new skill (make your own website/blog, or learn to knit/sew so you can make people more personalized gifts)

Here’s one last thing to consider. By taking on something new, you’ll also be giving something up without even realizing it: Your time. And do you know who else gave up this valuable resource? Jesus. Each and every day of his life, He selflessly gave His time, dedicating His entire life to helping, serving, and instructing others.

So what do you say? Are you ready to challenge yourself to take on something new this Lenten season? If so, leave a comment below with your thoughts, ideas, and plans for others to see. May God bless your Lenten journey this year.

(Author’s note: This post is written by guest author Anthony Hessler, who has written a handful of other articles for this blog.)

Photo is Christ Carrying His Cross by Konrad Summers